When I was 13, my mother took me on my first cruise. We were on the Star/Ship Oceanic of Premier Cruise Lines, a now-defunct cruise line. As you can see from the picture, 1990 was a peak year for me in terms of awkwardness.
Who cared that my glasses were huge and my braces were blinding? I loved cruising. In 2006, finally grown up and wearing contacts (no braces too!), I joined up with our family cruise, which later went on to become the annual cruise for the clothing and travel company Team Cocktail, which was started by two of my cousins.
Mom always played a key role in arranging our family's annual cruise in the Southern Caribbean. Picking the ship and the itinerary, choosing shore excursions - my mom did it all. Even as early as the mid 2000s, she was doing in-depth travel research on the internet, trying to plan the best trip. We always joked that some day, Mom would quit her job as a CPA and become a travel agent.
I moved to Oregon in 2006 to start my PhD and was there for four years. Whenever I could, I made the long trek to San Juan in January for our family cruise. Among other things, it was a great opportunity to spend time with my mom.
Ever since Mom died in 2014, planning cruises - and taking them myself, of course! - has helped me stay connected to her and the memories of us that I have. I love sitting in front of the TV at nights doing research on my laptop about cruise ships, ports of call, and itineraries - just like my mom used to do.
In 2017, I made the decision to take time off from my full-time job as a college professor in order to set up this travel blog and begin booking people on their dream cruises. In 2018, I returned to my job as a college professor and continued to grow as a cruise travel agent. As much as I love to travel myself, I also really love to help people plan and enjoy a wonderful cruise vacation. I know my mom would be proud!